An Essential Guide to Starting Your Own Record Store
A record shop seems quaint in today’s era of music streaming, but new vinyl records are making a resurgence, which means that record shops are doing well. Would-be entrepreneurs face challenges, of course.
But if you love music and records, and you enjoy engaging with people who love music and records, you could start a record shop that pays the bills but also allows you to be immersed in the music industry every day.
Today, let’s explore the steps you need to get started in your shop and other things you need to consider. Here’s what you need to know:
Essentials You Need to Open a Record Store
1. Location, Location, Location
Where you set up shop matters. You need to find a niche and corner it because you need to differentiate your shop from other shops to get your foot in the door. Pick a neighbourhood that’s not saturated with music stores, and make sure you cater to that neighbourhood’s tastes and needs.
Consider which record labels are more popular in that area, and start gathering the records by that label that you need to populate your store right at the start.
Once you’re up and running, you’ll have time to cover the other genres and labels in your store, but if you start with a strong backbone of records that are popular in your region, you stand a much better chance of gaining customers as soon as you open your doors.
2. Licensing and Permits
Every business needs to have the right licensing, regardless of what you’re selling. Make sure you have the proper permits to run a record shop before you open for business, and once you’re in business, make sure you pay your licensing fees and stay up to date with your permits.
You’ll need to buy the appropriate equipment for your shop. Make sure you have enough storage space for the records you need to stock, and choose record bins and display cases that are easy for customers to navigate.
Include a turntable in your shop so that you can demonstrate that turntables still have a place in the age of digital music and to give people a sample of what they are buying.
Depending on which products you want to sell and which services you want to offer, you’ll need to connect with a supplier. For instance, if you’re going to sell CDs, vinyl, cassettes, and the like, you’ll need to find a supplier with a wide variety of products.
Your supplier may be a record label or a distributor, or it may be an independent supplier who specialises in selling one kind of product.
5. Staff and Marketing
Record shops are not just retail stores—they’re a brand, and you need to market and support that brand every day to succeed. You need to keep your store stocked but not overstocked, and you need to be able to stock it with the right items, so your customers come back to buy more.
You’ll need to have some flexibility with your business hours, and if possible, you should be able to take off on short notice if you’re asked to be a part of a local band or music event where the record shop could be publicised. That kind of community support only goes so far, so you’ll need to be prepared to be close to your customers.
You’ll need a point of sale (EPOS) system or electronic POS system for your records to make sure that you have complete control over your stock and inventory. If you’re buying from distributors, you’ll need to use a good EPOS system. You can use the same system that you use for your other retail goods, or you can set up a separate EPOS system for your records.
You can even use a traditional POS system but go to a supply house and request a catalogue of all their vinyl releases for you to use in your shop. If you use a separate EPOS system for your records, you’ll have a better chance of keeping your inventory up to date.
Other Things to Consider to Help Grow your Record Store
Connect with the Right People
Start by connecting with other local record stores to get an idea of what works and doesn’t work and share information and support. There’s a growing community online that you can use to connect with other record store owners, and some cities and areas have a lot of record store owners, so you can get an idea of what works and what doesn’t work.
You can even reach out to record stores or record labels outside of your area if you want to know more about the industry and how it’s evolving. Getting on social media and connecting with other music fans and customers is an excellent way to get a feel for growing your record shop and positioning yourself in the local scene.
Share Your Passion and Tell Your Story
You probably already love music, and you probably already have a library of music at home that you love to talk about. Share your passion with your customers, and you’ll be able to create a rapport with them that will help you grow your store.
Keep your customers coming back, and you’ll be able to build up your business even if you’ve only got a small section of vinyl records at your store. You can build your reputation and create a strong brand that resonates with your customers, and you can even expand your store as you grow your customer base.
The Bottom Line
Starting a record store is a dream for many people, and it can be realised. But first, you need to know what you’re getting into and what you’ll need to do to succeed. Once you’ve got your plan in place, you can open a record shop and convert your passion for collecting records into a lifelong career that allows you to be immersed in the music industry every day.
If you are looking for an EPoS system that will fit your business needs and goals, we can help you!
Easitill EPoS Systems provides easy-to-use, robust, reliable, and supported EPoS systems across the UK and Northamptonshire. We also offer websites and labelling solutions that can help your business.
Contact us today to learn more about or book a demo online now!